One of the things the Internet has given us is more access to connecting and communicating with one another. This is all to the good when the communication promotes the well-being of everyone. It becomes a problem when it allows people to feed their fears. We see this phenomenon around the world in those groups that seek to oppress or eliminate other groups of people who may be different from them or in some way represent a threat.
As a trauma specialist, this got me to thinking about how important it is to be conscious of our fears and to cultivate ways to become even more conscious of, meet, and process this powerful emotion. So much of what creates division and conflict among human beings—be they in a one-on-one relationship, a family, a community, a country—is the presence of underlying, and often unrecognized or disowned, fear.
For this week’s practice, I’d like to offer a practice that can be helpful in recognizing and dealing with the presence of fear. Fear isn’t an emotion we can eliminate because it’s an important survival response that we need throughout life. It’s essential that fear can motivate us to jump out of the way of a bus we hadn’t seen, or remind us not to walk down a dark alley alone in the middle of the night. The problem is that we are often afraid of things that aren’t threatening and, when we act on these kinds of fears, we often generate even more trauma in ourselves and others.Read More “747th Week: The Power of Fear”
Walking through Central Park one morning, my usual, meditative state of mind—which emerges naturally when I walk through areas of trees—focused on a small act of kindness that someone had recently done for me. I touched back into the quality of friendliness the person seemed to radiate and I realized that the actual act of kindness offered was only part of what made the interaction meaningful. The other part was the quality of who this person is in the world, and that felt like the most important aspect of the experience.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with an acquaintance one afternoon in Starbuck’s, where she began to speak apologetically about how she didn’t feel like she ever did anything really important or meaningful in her life… Read More “680th Week: What We Radiate Into the World”
Several times in the last week, I’ve run across postings in classes I’m taking, as well as postings on Facebook, that speak to something that offers what, for me, is a source of support during these challenging and distressing times. Unfortunately, at the moment, my brain won’t give me the names of the people or places where I’ve run across these postings, so I’ll share some general ideas about what has touched me along the way.
I’ve written before about the importance of not going into collapse in the presence of what seem to be overwhelming circumstances. One of the ways to avoid collapse is to feel able to act in ways that meet, ameliorate, or change what causes suffering to our brothers and sisters of every species all around the planet, and to the planet itself. Read More “720th Week: Small Acts Matter”
As I wrote this practice, I was on vacation and had planned not to do any work-related activities while out of town. I spent the first week in a family-oriented resort that touched me in a way that has stayed with me and left me wanting to share what I feel is the underlying dynamic that brought a vividly heart-centered experience to me.
One of the themes I’ve written about many times is the importance of recognizing that every quality we express is its own frequency. We radiate qualities and frequencies as we move through the world and this is true of individuals, groups, and places. I’ve written before about how it can be a powerful experience to tune into the quality of a building or a place in nature and to resonate with what you find there.
At this particular family resort, there was a pervasive quality of what I can only call “happiness”. As a trauma specialist, it was heart-opening and heart-nourishing to watch parents with children of all ages interacting with kindness, interest, and a focus on fun. Again and again, I saw parents engaged in play with their children, and families engaged in enthusiastic and laughter-filled “team” activities. Even the trees and many animals around the property—deer, chipmunks galore, birds, geese, fish, and the occasional bear—seemed to also resonate with a fundamental and underlying experience of being welcomed and at ease.Read More “760th Week: Heart-Centered Living”
Just before the election, I had an unexpected—and unusual for me—interaction with someone on Facebook that reflected something we’ve all seen emerge over time. It seems that differences of opinion are now taken as attacks. Read More “Week 653: Speaking with Respect”
One of the things that always touches me is listening to the critical ways in which so many of us talk to ourselves. It’s as though we culturally tune into a particular channel of self-awareness and are taught to give ourselves a hard time, weighing ourselves down with “shoulds”, comparing ourselves negatively to others, and making sure we jump on ourselves immediately if there is any hint that we might not be measuring up to whatever judgments we may carry.
For many of us, there is also the underlying anxiety, uncertainty, and downright fear that arose during times of trauma when we may have experienced verbal or physical abuse. With abuse tends to come an internal dialogue of self-blame which then grows into an internal litany of what’s wrong with us and why we, or our lives, will never be okay.
Recently, I watched a Tedx Talk by Andrew Newman, the creator of the Conscious Bedtime Story Club and the author of many children’s books. The talk is entitled, “Why the Last 20 Minutes of the Day Matter” and I was captivated by what Andrew had to say. Here’s a link to his talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfcZhlK-FAURead More “776th Week: Programming Ourselves for More Gentle Self-Talk”